Kirsty returns to her old school

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 23-Jun-2016

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Kirsty Sword Gusmao with students Brooke McNaughton and Samuel Gorrie. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN
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By Natasha MacFarlane

Former Eaglehawk Primary School sudent Kirsty Sword Gusmao returned last week to unveil her portrait in the school’s foyer. 

Dr Sword Gusmao is one of the school’s most notable ex-students, she served as the former first lady of East Timor from 2002 to 2007, and worked for the country’s independence movement. 

She is also the founding director of the Alola foundation which supports national development, women’s empowerment and the health of women and children in East Timor. 

As daughter of the principal, Dr Sword Gusmao fondly recalled her time at Eaglehawk Primary and what it was like living at the school residence.

 “Eaglehawk Primary School was like an extension of our family living room,” Dr Sword Gusmao said.

“I would spend weekends and evenings there, exploring every musty nook and cranny, catching and caring for the mice that scuttled about under the stairs.”

Dr Sword Gusmao also reflected upon the impact that the school had on her interest as a social and human rights advocate.

“My awareness of the notion of social justice and the rights of all children, regardless of socio-economic background, to a quality education had their roots here at Eaglehawk Primary School in the 70s,” Dr Sword Gusmao said.

“In my work of rebuilding Timor-Leste’s shattered education system, I frequently recall and am inspired by the example of dedication and love shown by the teachers and educational leaders at the Eaglehawk Primary School.”

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